Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
This is the longest job I've ever had. Eleven and a half years now. And this issue marks my 600th issue. Six hundred issues of the Tri-County News put together by yours truly.
I was really surprised at this number: 600, in what seems like such a short time. Then I got out my calculator. At least 10,000 individual pages - laid out, proofed, and printed by me. I've written hundreds of stories, and created an even higher number of ads.
Thousands of photos, both black-and-white and now lots of color photos. These days, each photo requires at least 30 steps in adjusting it to print optimally here in the newspaper. That's a lot of mouse-clicks!
The evolution of how photos are handled for the paper is just one example of the many changes in the past 10-or-so years. The Tri-County News now uses process color (that's the beautiful full-color that looks so great, even when printed on newsprint). Everything is laid out on computer (rather than waxed-up "boards"), and it's transmitted online (rather than driven to Sauk Centre early Wednesday morning).
The Tri-County News has been online for more than 10 years. Our award-winning website has thousands of unique visitors each week. Who'd've thought it?
We've added some special issues and sections, and taken others to a new level. (For instance, the graduation book that just went out last week is now a full-color, glossy booklet!) Each of these new projects and improvements are meant to do two things: 1) help connect our advertisers with our readers in an aesthetically pleasing and impactful way, and 2) give our readers a great experience with our paper. The Tri-County Resource Guide included in this paper is something we started 9 or 10 years ago. We're always thinking of something new.
Things have evolved at the press, too. Sauk Centre Web Printing now processes our pages directly by computer onto metal plates that go onto the printing presses. Pressman extraordinaire Joe Carlson works wonders with those presses, some of which are nearly 50 years old.
Ten thousand pages is a lot. It's really a lot. My rule of thumb is that each page takes about an hour to lay out and "make pretty;" the reality is that it's nearly two hours.
I must've done at least 300 all-nighters in these past years, processing those photos and laying out those pages. Lots of other stuff too.
Every once in awhile I wonder if I would have taken this on 10+ years ago had I known how much work it was going to be. Anyone who knows me knows the answer: of course I would! This work fuels me in so many ways.
The comments we hear nearly every day make it all worthwhile. We hear from our advertisers who are thrilled with their ads. And we hear from our readers, whether subscribers or occasional readers, about how great the paper looks. This is exactly what we're all working so hard for. Our many awards are great, but pale by comparison to what you tell us every week.
I've not been doing this all alone, though. No way! I've had a number of people helping me over the years. Maxine Doran is at least half my brain, hands and feet in getting the work done. It's still a blessing getting to work with my mom, and we still laugh till it hurts on most days.
Sue Hughes is the graphic artist who makes so many of the beautiful ads you see each week. I can appreciate her training and experience in doing this, but it still defies my comprehension how creative and imaginative she is.
Marlene Young helps us sell ads, especially in our monthly broadcast issue and our special sections. It is the support of these advertisers that lets us bring you the grad book, resource guide, Homecoming or Band trip photos, and so much more. Of course, they make our paper possible each and every week too!
We have interns, delivery people, and a few others helping us each week, too. Thank you ALL!
Next up is a Progress Issue we're working on to coincide with Kimball Days in August and the 125th anniversary of Kimball (or at least of the arrival of the train that changed central Minnesota so much).
It's been an honor to have been so connected to so many of you. Each story we do, even if it's a photo and a little information, ties us all together a little bit more.
You've let us - that's me, us, and the Tri-County News into your homes and your lives. For this, I am SO grateful!
I may take it a little easier this summer (yeah, right!), and then gear up for another 600 pages or so!